On this week’s Wealthy Woman Lawyer® Podcast, we speak with Alexandra Davis. Alexandra is a litigation attorney based in North Carolina and the founder of Davis Legal Media. Davis Legal Media provides attorney-written content for lawyers and law firms in need of high-quality, ghostwritten thought leadership pieces. Alexandra is a graduate of Campbell Law School where she served on the Board of Editors of Campbell’s Law Review, and has written for the ABA Journal, Legal Tech News, Above the Law, Legal Business World and many more. 

“Everything you do as a professional, whether you do a lot of speaking engagements or you attend a lot of conferences, is making yourself known, making yourself searchable, and showing up where people are looking for you. And, that all contributes to building that sort of social trust that’s necessary for someone to make a hire,” says Alexandra.

We chat about the current demand for content writing and copywriting for attorneys, as well as:

  • How to successfully work with a ghostwriter and why attorneys benefit from their service
  • Delivering an authentic voice with website copy
  • The differences to consider when developing content for different platforms
  • The importance of being visible on multiple social media locations
  • Inbound vs. outbound marketing and where you should devote your attention for maximum ROI
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Davis Legal Media Twitter Page
  • Davis Legal Media Facebook Page
  • Davis Legal Media Website

Transcript

Davina Frederick: Hello and welcome to the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast. We believe all women lawyers deserve to be wealthy women lawyers. Our mission is to provide thought provoking, powerful and practical information to help you in creating your own sustainable wealth generating law firm without overwork or overwhelm so you can live your best life. I’m your host, Davina Frederick, and I’m so excited for you to meet our guest today. So let’s get started.

Alexandra Davis, North Carolina litigation attorney and founder of Davis Legal Media. Davis Legal Media provides attorney written content for lawyers and law firms in need of high quality ghostwritten thought leadership pieces, whether that’s a blog, website content or bylined articles. Alexandra has a BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she served as the Editor in Chief of the Carolina Review. And she is a graduate of Campbell Law School where she served on the Board of Editors of Campbell Law Review. She’s written for publications like National Jurist, the Lawyerist, the ABA Journal, Legal Tech News, Above the Law, Legal Business World, ACC Docket, Attorney at Work, and many more. So welcome, Alexandra. We’re so happy to have you here as a guest today and welcome on our podcast.

Alexandra Davis: Thank you so much for having me, Davina. I’m a big fan of the podcasts. And I’m really excited to be here.

Davina: Oh, yeah. Wonderful one that I’m glad I’ve got you and my mother, right?

Alexandra: I’m sure it’s a lot more than that.

Davina: Thank you. Thank you. So I’m really glad that you’re here. Because this is a need that a lot of attorneys have is held in we’re in such a content marketing driven world right now, when it comes to marketing your law firm business, and producing all that content can feel like a part time job on top of their already full time job. And so this, your company helps to bridge that gap, right?

Alexandra: That’s correct. I like to think of us as closing the gap between attorneys ideas, and an actual written work products that goes out to the world. So I think that so many times we have the best of intentions of creating some content, sharing our thoughts demonstrating our authority. But in the realities of day to day practice, it just often doesn’t happen, you know, for good reason, because of billable hour requirements and just the demands of client work. So I see us as kind of that third party arm have long for marketing departments where we help attorneys actually get their content out into the world.

Davina: That’s wonderful art. So I want to delve into that a lot more. Before we do that I want people to get to know a little bit more about you and your journey to becoming attorney and then being litigator and then founding Davis legal media. So let’s start with just giving us an idea of Did you always wanted to be an attorney? Or was that something that evolved for you?

Alexandra: So I think a lot of people can probably relate to my story and that I always knew I wanted to go to law school. But I wasn’t necessarily sold on the idea of being a practicing attorney. I knew that I was very interested in the law. In theory, I was always very into school, I love to learn. I love to write. I think a lot of people who know me would say I like to argue so it seems that law school was a natural choice. But I kind of barreled into, into law school headlong without really thinking about what I wanted to do afterwards. Thankfully, it worked. It worked out, you know, it worked out I had a great time in law school, I really enjoyed it really threw myself into it. And sort of side note, I met my husband there. So I like to say that that was a surprising little benefit I got from law school, as you know, right, lifelong friends. So it was it was a wonderful experience. But I graduated and thought, oh man, I’m not really sure what I want to do. 

So I went to a boutique litigation firm here in Raleigh, North Carolina. I did primarily fiduciary litigation, plaintiffs personal injury work and some corporate litigation. And it was great. I mean, I learned a lot. Really, I think it changed me in a lot of ways I developed a thick skin and because it was a small law firm, I really got to see sort of an insider’s view of how a small a successful, small business operates. And the attorneys there really brought me into the process into their sort of business development plans and their marketing plans. And it was just incredible, to see and to witness. So I started to learn that maybe I was interested and somehow using my legal training was more of a business development marketing strategy approach, but I just, it was kind of a miasma, the word I just didn’t really know what it meant or where to seek it. 

And then sometime in the middle of 2017, the partners had me working on their content, there’s that, you know, do some blog posts, articles, you know, get us featured in different outlets work on, you know, our website needs to be rewritten, can you do some copywriting? So I experienced that and really see that not only is there value in that there’s actually a need for that. I mean, I learned it firsthand. And I was trying to get all this work done, while keeping up with my cases. And it was just very difficult. So that’s what led me down this rabbit trail of saying is this actually something that attorneys need? Is this actually a thing that people do. And then I discovered this whole body of this whole sort of sub industry of content writing, copywriting, and ghost writing for different industries of which the law was one. And I thought, you know, a lot of people trying to do this aren’t attorneys, I am one, I have a writing background, I wonder if this is something that might have some legs. So I long, long story made very short, there are a lot of steps in between this. 

But in early 2018, that was when I broke away from my firm. And with their tremendous support, they were actually my first client, which was pretty neat. But I sort of hung my shingle and started trying it. And when I saw that there actually was demand in the market, I just sort of refined the service offerings from there. So now we have a small but growing team. And we offer ghostwritten thought leadership for lawyers. And we’re actually about to launch a series of content strategy packages for small firm attorneys who aren’t really sure how to get started creating content, how to build their platform, where they should be showing up who they should be talking to, we’re going to kind of have some done for you packages that they can purchase. So that’s actually launching this summer. So that’s an exciting, new, exciting that my team’s we’re gonna Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. So, yeah, some exciting things to come.

Davina: So let’s talk about this issue of creating content, and maybe some of the questions that attorneys would have women law firm owners would have regarding hiring somebody to do writing for them and helping them to get the word out about their business. I know one of the concerns that I hear often when I’m working with my coaching clients is off, am I gonna find? Am I gonna be able to hire somebody who first of all, understands my area of law, and can write about it? Right, by the time I explain it to a writer, I might as well just write it myself. That’s something I hear often. What has been your experience with that? And what did you guys do differently to sort of handle that?

Alexandra: That’s a fantastic question. A lot of people ask me that. So it’s no secret that I have not practiced in every area of the law. That I don’t know every area of the law. A couple of responses, though. One is that the benefit of least being in the same industry, being a lawyer having had practice experience, or at least a little bit conversant in the same language, you know, we, I understand, I also understand a lot of the ethical rules that sort of construct lawyers conduct online. So that right there is immensely helpful because you just hire a content, a content writer who does not have a legal background, there’s a whole lot there that they just don’t know, because they haven’t been immersed in the industry. 

So having an attorney who speaks the same language, understands the same sort of ethical obligation, the same sort of need to exude a certain professionalism. That is extremely helpful. I will say on my team, I do all of our writers are attorneys with practice experience. And I do hire a variety people with a variety of backgrounds. So I do sort of deploy different writers based on different client projects. So for instance, if I have a divorce law firm, I will deploy a divorce attorney who’s a writer to take on those assignments. So that certainly helps. And then the third thing, the sort of third response I have is the great thing about hiring a ghostwriter and developing a long term relationship with an attorney growth writer as opposed to just outsourcing to a content company, or sort of like a mill that just pushes out content, which is fine, I’m not knocking that there’s there’s absolutely a place for that. But where we sort of stand out is we work together in a collaborative relationship. 

So you know, I get to know my clients, I get to understand their voice, I understand their goals. And I immerse myself in their practice areas. And yes, there is definitely right, there was a bit of a learning curve there in the beginning, but the longer we work together, the more I get to know their, their practice and their industry niche. You know, the more second nature it becomes. So I have clients that I’ve worked with for three years now. And at first, yes, we were on the phone a lot. But when they’re thinking about the ROI, it’s a long game. So now I can work on these articles with very little guidance. So in my team, you know, can pitch in as needed so. So that relationship aspect, that sort of heavy involvement with your ghostwriter is extremely helpful. Right, right.

Davina: I’d say the same thing. About voice: Do you have people ask you? Well, how are you going to be able to capture my voice that people want to hear from me? And are they going to read what somebody else has written for me and think, Oh, this doesn’t even sound like her? Have you had to address that with clients?

Alexandra: Absolutely all the time, especially when it comes to website copy. That is where it really comes through, is in website copy. And it is absolutely a skill. It’s something that, you know, I’ve learned in practice over the years. But I have a questionnaire that I send out to my clients for larger projects, like website copywriting that they answer, and we get very, very specific and very, very granular. I mean, I want to know, things like, you know, what kind of coffee Are you drinking? Or what do you do in your spare time, tell me about your family. So I really try to get to know the person and get into their heads. And honestly, when you’re talking about voice, everyone has a voice, sort of generally speaking, but then there are different nuances of that right, that you would present or tone down, depending on your audience. So there’s sort of layers of nuance there. If you’re writing website causes for an attorney that handles more of consumer facing practice, like real estate closings, you know, you might adopt a different voice than you would if you are a boutique, at a boutique firm, and you’re representing very sophisticated, you know, fortune 100 business clients, you know, when it’s more of a b2b business, you know, you’re not going to adopt that, hey, I’m your best friend sitting on the front porch drinking sweet tea tone. So it really takes a lot of upfront work and a lot of upfront effort. And we really tried to make that a part of our process when we’re working with a new client.

Davina: Do you get pushback from attorneys on sort of the amount of time that it takes to if they when they started thinking about using written content as their vehicle for for increasing your credibility authority and getting more visibility and exposure, that they worry that it’s going to take too much time to go through and sort of plan out all this content? And, you know, and then go back and forth with a writer and all that kind of stuff? What, what sort of feedback Are you hearing from them? And how do you address that?

Alexandra: That’s a great question. Honestly, Davina, I don’t, because I find that the people who, who hire my business, they’re bought in, you know, they believe in the value of this work. And I have not. I have not faced a lot of pushback, typically the people I work with, they are very enthusiastic, they are very interested in the back and forth relationship in a collaborative relationship. So I have not experienced that. I have experienced, you know, situations where, you know, understandably, life will get busy, practice will get busy, maybe somebody has to pull back for a while, that is absolutely fine. You know, that’s something you know, I don’t, I don’t like to lock people into contracts where they’re, you know, paying a retainer, and they’re paying, even if there’s no work produced, I mean, I like to absolutely be flexible, we do tend to do a lot of advanced planning when it comes to content. So at any given time, if I’m working with a firm or an attorney, we’ll have three or four different article ideas brewing so that way, if they are in trial, or they need to sort of duck out for a while, you know, I have a critical mass of work I can do in the meantime. So I could be doing the research, the outlining, and then when they have time to reconnect, we do. So fortunately, I’ve had a lot of success working with attorneys, you know, just thinking the plan. And I also find that creating a content calendar immensely helps because we can plan ahead, and we can say, okay, in June, we have X, Y, and Z coming down the pipeline, here’s what we need to do now, to prepare. So that kind of planning and close communication with flexibility is, right. Yeah, right.

Davina: So what let’s talk about the different types of content that you guys can help your clients create?

Alexandra: Absolutely. So the business is actually about to go through a little bit of a rebrand. So I’m going to talk about it in those terms. So essentially, Davis Legal Media is sort of the high quality, high, highly customized, bespoke sort of ghost written content. And for that, it’s four main types of content, there are books. So I’m actually working with an attorney right now on a memoir. So, we will, so I will do that. And that involves, you know, heavy involvement from me for that one on one, contact. So book, Ghost written transcripts for speeches and presentations, professional biographies, whether for a LinkedIn profile for a presentation at an event or panel, or for a law firm website. And then finally, long form bylined articles on sort of nice areas within the law. So emerging practice areas, you know, we’re talking about the 2020 500 word article for a trade journal or publication on some pretty nice legal topics. So that’s the Davis Legal Media side. 

The brand that’s launching this summer is going to be called data, thought leadership. So a day as you know, as a platform on which you stand to promulgate a message. So the mission of this brand was in Davis Legal Media is to help attorneys create their platforms to amplify their voices and their authority. And that is going to be a series of, as I said, Before content and strategy packages. So attorneys who know they need to have a presence online aren’t really sure where to start, can simply read about our different package offerings, and select the one that fits their needs. And then our team will implement it. And those packages are essentially building your website, building your platform, which is a mix of strategy, a detailed content strategy plan that we give you to keep some social media platform set up, and content creation and a content calendar. 

And then the third is build your resource bank, where we basically set people up with high quality blog content, Article content, social media posts, ebook content, white papers, and they are free to implement it how they want. So my goal for that is essentially to roll the strategy and the content in the book in the implementation and packages. Because what’s so what’s the one thing I found, you know, is that a lot of attorneys know exactly what they want to say, I want to write this memoir, I want to write this article, you know, I’ve got a speech coming up, I need a bio, I need you to help me. I can do that other company, mainly solo and small, firm attorneys who say, Look, I know I need to be doing this, I don’t even know where to start, like, Chevy on LinkedIn. Should I be on Facebook? Should I blog? I don’t know. So that’s why we devise the sub a brand where attorneys can simply say, this sounds like the sort of package that I need, they purchase it and my team, it’s done for you. So that’s an exciting new development that I hope really helps some people.

Davina: Talk to me about the difference between sort of writing for these different content platforms versus, you know, writing briefs, or writing academic articles or, or whatever, like, talk about the difference in them. Because I think a lot of times when you have attorneys, attempting, you know, starting out and getting maybe creating your own content, that they may not choose the right style of writing for the platform, what kind of work do you do with clients to sort of make sure that you’re on that same page.

Alexandra: Writing for a blog, or writing an article is not the same as writing a brief, there are similarities. It’s not a free for all, it’s not a stream of consciousness. You know, a lot of people think blog writing is, you know, you let go of any all in all conventions and just sort of, you know, spill your brain on paper, that’s not true at all, but they’re still very good, you know, you’re supposed to follow certain structure. I help clients with that, by providing sort of a general template, get out of sort of, here’s kind of your introduction and how you want to follow that, here’s sort of how you want to arrange your headers, here’s, you know, the thesis that you should make sure is woven throughout the article. But really the style one of my colleagues that this I’m not going to take credit for it, but I think it’s perfect as polished and formality. So if you think about, you know, the brief is being the, the suit, you know, three piece suit that’s really buttoned up and crisp, and press, you’ve got a tie on and think of the the blog post, as you start to loosen the tie, maybe on button, the jacket, you’re kicked back a little bit, it’s a little more approachable, but still very put together.

Davina: Right? How do people get started? Like, what’s the process like to start working with you? Because I imagine that a lot of times with when people are faced with kind of this idea, they’ve been working with her coach, and they’re like, you need to start creating content and going, Oh, gosh, I don’t know where to start. And so they if they hire a writer, what process Do you go through with them to help them make sure that you really understand their brand, and their ideal clients are so that you’re helping them make the right choices for the platforms that they, you know, where they want to write and the type of writing they need the content?

Alexandra: Absolutely, I think, kind of entrepreneur entrepreneurial circles, it’s, people call it discovery, you know, which I don’t use that term with lawyers because they hear discovery and they think of discovery, you know, similar. Similar, you know, in the sense that you’re just gathering information, but it’ll be essentially the same for the Davis legal media ghostwriting side, and then the Deus package, you know, content packages side in that. It starts with discovery. It starts with information gathering starts with, again, that questionnaire depending on the client sometimes if it’s one person and we’re Just gonna write an article a month for a trade journal, you know, I’ll dispense with the written questionnaire, and we’ll just have a long conversation and there’s a call, it’s usually close to an hour. And I ask them a lot of questions about their practice and their goals and their experience and their clients and their audience. And they’re where they want to who they want to be speaking to where they want to end up in their career. Sometimes, if it’s a firm, and they want, you know, a lot of content, you know, multiple articles per month, I’ll send them a questionnaire. So we have something written that my team can refer to. And it’ll be essentially all the same questions. So it’s really just a lot of legwork upfront.

Davina: That may sound intimidating to somebody who’s wanting to hire you a lot of legwork up front. And I’m assuming you have it in such a way that, you know, it makes it easy for the clients.

Alexandra: Legwork for us not for the client, you know, think of us as towards taking the client by hand, and walking them through the process, they just need to show up. And so it’s the legwork for us. You know,

Davina: I wanted to make that earlier, so that if somebody was listening, that’s how I like work. But I want to shift gears a little bit, and I want to talk about your experience as a woman attorney, shifting gears and starting a business, that is not traditional, you know, loitering, and what that was like for you and kind of what went into that, what went into that decision for you. And the challenges that you faced in dealing with that sort of maybe emotion of you know, I went to law school, and I got this degree and I should be attorney and people are expecting me to be an attorney. And people say, Well, why are you not Why do you not have a law firm that you’re practicing? And or whatever? Do you get that from people? What is your experience been like?

Alexandra: You know, it’s interesting, cuz I didn’t as much as I thought I would I think a lot of what I got was, Wow, that’s really interesting, interesting way to use your degree, I got a lot of people who were just very curious. And that was very exciting, because I always knew that I wanted to do something a little bit entrepreneurial. I always knew I wanted to somehow use my writing. But I also wanted to include my, my legal training. It’s true that I’m not practicing. I do keep my bar license active. Because I do feel like I worked so hard for it. And what if you have a family friend at some point needs advice or needs something or I want to pick up, you know, some pro bono work, I think it’s important to keep that going. One thing that I did face that’s so interesting, I wonder if other women attorneys can relate is why I did start my business. I had a couple people. I was in my late 20s. I hadn’t had any children yet. I was married, but I had a lot of people assume, Oh, are you doing this? Because you want to become more flexible for when you have kids? And the answer is no, that that wasn’t at all. On My Mind. It has had a nice double effect that it has been that way I haven’t thought of a child now actually expecting a second. So that is that is nice. But it’s interesting that people automatically made that assumption that because I’m a woman, and I’m starting my own business and leaving traditional practice that that was my only possible motivation.

Davina: So very interesting. Yeah.

Alexandra: Isn’t that. At first to kind of insulted me a little bit. I was like, No, I really am excited about this industry nice and to build this business. And, you know, when the business started to grow, it was just very exciting. And I had a lot of people even now that I have children, people make a lot of assumptions about Oh, so you’re basically just don’t work. You die. It’s like, No, no, this is actually a six figure business people you know.

Davina: Side hustle.

Alexandra: It’s not an even if it was at the absolutely fine. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And with that path, and I think that’s wonderful, too. I think that has revealed a lot about our society, about how people perceive women in law. And if you’re not doing something traditional, is it really a legitimate career path. So I do think that there’s a lot of work we need to do as a society to sort of accept that there’s so many different ways to work, build a business, build wealth build, build a nice developer nice. So that’s something that I would want to encourage anybody listening that if they’re doing something non traditional, or they want to, you know, don’t don’t worry about how it’s perceived. I think most people if they say something that comes off, like it could potentially be critical. They might just be interested or curious. Maybe they’re a little bit envious, because they think Wow, that’s really nice that you, you made that bold move. You know, I wish I could do that. Or I wish I had the chutzpah to do that or things like that.

Davina: Yeah, yeah. I actually had that experience and and, you know, moving into developing the law firm, growth strategist and coaching and consulting around that. People were thinking, I thought you were going to be a lawyer, and I’m like, Well, I happen to work. I did that. And now I’m doing this for a while. And yeah, it’s fun. Like, I still get used to my skills. My, my lawyer, I can still have my lawyer hat on while I’m doing. Yeah. And, and I’m bringing in also the journalism degree and the marketing experience that I’ve had all those things. So it’s really nice to be able to bring in all these different elements of you. And yeah, and, you know, create something and be a creator. You know, that’s where the fun is.

Alexandra: Exactly.

Davina: Right. So tell me about what’s your vision for the beginning to hire a team? And how quickly did you move toward a hiring team?

Alexandra: It was, it was I always knew that I wanted to build a team. So I took me about a year. So actually, let me share this part of my story, cuz I think this will be really encouraging. I didn’t just go from quitting my job to doing this business and doing well It took a while. So what I actually did was I did doc review, on the side, full time for a couple months and a part time for almost a year, or for about 10 months. And that gave us the side sort of income while I was working on the business. So I want to share that part of the story. I think that’s really important. I don’t want people you know, a lot of people think, Oh, I can’t, you know, quit my job and start a business and not have an income. Yeah, a lot of people can’t, you know, so the doc review kind of was my Avenue, I had to leave the firm, because I couldn’t say, Hey, I’m going to, you know, basically help other firms market their services while I’m working for you, you know, by. So yeah, so that year, so 2018 was essentially building the business, doing the Docker be on the side, and then early 2019 was okay, I’ve hit my revenue goal that would allow me to do this full time and focus the 2019. 

First half was me figuring that out. And then I hired two part time, contract writers, and one in mid 2019. One in late 2019 2020, we kind of maintained just the three of us. And then this past year, I hired a client account manager, a couple other freelance attorney writers. And I’m actually bringing in some help on my digital marketing efforts. And I am currently on the hunt for an editor and content manager. So just a little plug out there for anyone who might be interested. Yeah, so not seek not to use your podcast as an avenue for that. But you know, to answer your question it took, I spent a lot of time mapping out my vision for the team and coming up with sort of my ideal structure. And honestly, I do think that in some ways, you have to make the hire before you feel like you’re absolutely ready. Because you don’t want to get in a position where you don’t have the labor, you don’t have the that sounds so dehumanizing. You don’t have the people in place, you know, to, to do the work, then you pick up a huge new account, and you’re just sort of bailing your boat, sailing the water out of your boat, you’re like, shoot, I really don’t want to say no to this new opportunity. But my gosh, I can’t handle this. So I actually recently made the decision to really invest in the business. And to go ahead and put that structure in place. So everyone takes a different approach, but that was mine, you know, get your structure in place while you build your business. And then you have partners along side you as you build your brand. And that’s just so much more fun than going at it alone, in my opinion.

Davina: Yeah, yeah. Have you had challenges with hiring people hiring writers that maybe, you know, weren’t up to the standard of excellence that you require? Or maybe they just didn’t get it? Or, you know, whatever, if you had any of those issues, or is it then kind of smooth sailing all along?

Alexandra: Yes. No? Yeah. Does he know it’s hard? It’s hard. It’s hard to find someone who is a lawyer who has the time who has the interest? Who has that? Yeah, absolutely. So, so yes, unfortunately, I have had that happen. And yet, when it does happen, it just has to be great. You know, just handle it with as equations as you possibly can.

Davina: I ask that is because a couple reasons. One is that I know with women, law firm owners, one of the challenges that one of the biggest challenges that many have is they want to expand and they want to hire a team and they want to increase their capacity. But, you know, they hire people, and then they turn out not to be what they appear to be, and they get disappointed. And then they’re like, well, there’s nobody out here and I can’t find it. And and then I also know that when it comes to writers I’ve worked with you know, I’m a copywriter, and I’ve worked with many, many writers over the years. And there are some that you’re, you know, you’re hired, you’re like, dang, yeah, that’s not gonna work. Right. And so I know how frustrating that can be. So I was just wondering, one of the things that I find encouraging is that you I’m always encouraging my clients to just keep at it. Like if you have somebody and they turn out to throw them back, put out there and get another one, like, you know, you just have sort of keep at it because you’ve assembled quite a significant size team. And so I was wondering if you had had some of those experiences where you’re like, and I didn’t work out, gotta go back to the drawing board? And how did you handle sort of the emotional feeling of disappointment? let down?

Alexandra: Yeah, you know, it’s so interesting to me now, because I’m learning this right now, you know, the only advice I can share is coming from a place of, I am a student of this, and I, this is so new to me. One thing that has helped is all of my people are part time, they’re all very part time and engaged as 1099 contractors, rather than employees, I will say that, that gives you a little bit more freedom and flexibility to feel each other out, you know, sort of see if you, not only if they’re good, and the work quality is good. But if they get what you’re going for, you know, you’re, as the kids these days, say like, do they get your vibe, you know, do they? Are they bought into what you’re doing? Do you work well together, I mean, I’ve had experienced where, you know, I recently put out a notice for a writer and had people apply, what I did was I had them do a sample assignment, I considered it an audition. 

So I would have that I would send them one assignment, it was a real assignment for an actual client. And that, to me was much more helpful than looking at their writing samples, because I got to see how they actually work with me. And that was very valuable, cuz I had a few people whose writing was good, but they were not responsive. Maybe they were, we just personality wise, did not click, maybe they would go Mia for many, many days, maybe they were rude. You know, I mean, thankfully, too much of that. But there were definitely, you know, that could have been a really bad thing if you just pick someone up as a, as an employee. So doing the sort of the audits and assignments was helpful. But also the sort of starting out slowly as a part time freelance position, gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility to simply say, you know, at this at this juncture, you know, we don’t need your services, right now. And because these people have other jobs, it’s not like they’re not going to feed their family that week because of you.

Davina: Right, right, so cool. Less at stake, but you’re, you know, also you mentioned with writers, you know, a lot of times good writing of Sam, when you see samples, good writing can be good editors, you know, so giving testing, that is a good way to do it. And it probably is an added benefit when he’s working with an agency like yours, because you’re doing all that for them. So they’re not having to go out on site like Upwork or Fiverr, and hire a writer and then do this vetting process themselves. You’re going through, and you’re doing this for them. So this is probably one of the advantages of working with an agency like yours. You talk a lot about ROI. And I’d love it if you’d share kind of your thoughts on what Why do you talk about ROI when it comes to hiring professional legal writers to help you develop content?

Alexandra: Absolutely, it matters. That’s the only reason you do anything in your in your, in your practice, or that’s why you that’s the only reason why you do anything. Marketing related is because you want more clients, you know, I actually stopped asking this question in the initial questionnaire, one of my questions was, what are your goals? And everyone’s goal was get more clients. So I finally stopped asking because I realized, well, yeah, of course, it’s everyone. That’s everyone’s goal, get, you know, get more clients and make more money, build your practice. So I talk, I really beat the ROI drum because a lot of attorneys, they get a little bit spooked by the sort of sometimes, you know, ghostwriting, third party content writing, it seems a little bit a little bit fluffy, or they think, you know, I don’t I don’t see I don’t see the immediate ROI of publishing an article because what are the chances some huge client is going to stumble upon it and then immediately hire me? 

Well, yeah, I mean, it kind of doesn’t work that way. Very few things do work that way. So, but it all matters because it’s all a part of that platform building. And when I say platform building, it’s really just creating a presence, creating a professional, authoritative presence. And whether you do that online, through your digital marketing, whether you do a lot of speaking engagements, whether you attend a lot of conferences, everything you do as a professional, in your professional capacity, is putting your name out there making yourself known, making yourself searchable, showing up where people are looking for you. And that all contributes to building that sort of social trust that’s necessary for someone to make a hire. So, I kind of liken it to, you know, an exercise or you know, fitness plan, if you have a goal of, say, getting to a certain weight, you know, you’re not going to immediately, you know, you’re not going to eat an apple instead of a, you know, I don’t know, bacon cheeseburger in this stuff on a scale and see it go down 10 pounds, you know, but every, every step you take every nutritional decision you make every, you know, workout you do every, you know, step you log in your, your Fitbit, that all goes towards your overarching goal. So I think of ROI is a very, it’s a long game, it takes a lot of effort. And fortunately, with companies like mine, and you know, digital marketing agencies, and there’s so many resources resources out there for lawyers to help them accomplish this, that they don’t have to do it on their own.

Davina: Right, right. So one of the things is, you have some interesting stats on your website. And one of the things that you mentioned is that brands who utilize content marketing achieve more than five times and conversion rates, but those who don’t, yeah, and content marketing cost about 62%, less than outbound marketing generates three times more leads, what do you mean by outbound marketing?

Alexandra: So more of what you think of as traditional marketing ads, commercial, Google, Google ad campaigns, billboard, pay, paid paid media, you know, even pay to play pay to play situations where you’re paying to have yourself featured. So inbound marketing is that sort of relationship focused marketing, where you are showing up and offering value. And in turn, you are developing a relationship with your audience. So it’s sort of like a way you know, people talk about it in the inbound marketing world as making touches, you have to make several touches with people before you develop the trust that they will actually opt into your email list reach out to you ultimately hire you. So yeah, you’re absolutely right about the stats. And there’s another stat I can’t remember, I have this on the website or not. But it actually is a double edged sword, because a lot of decision makers within businesses will actually not go with a certain organization, hire a certain professional because of their mark their thought leadership. So if it’s bad, it can actually really hurt you. That’s why it matters so much to have it be good. So if you don’t think that you’re in a position to create good thought leadership, maybe just sort of hit pause for a while and figure out well, what can I be doing? You know, instead? Because it can, it can hurt you as much as it can help you unfortunately.

Davina: Right, right. So we’re talking about the term thought leadership, and you and I both are very comfortable with that term and familiar with it, but other people may not. Let’s talk about what thought leader because I can I can imagine speaking, listening to this and thinking, what thoughts, you know, like, like, Am I a thought, do I have BM thoughts got leading edge thoughts? And, you know, there is a lot of fear sometimes among attorneys, I know, this, I, this comes up often when I’m talking with people creating video content. And they worry that I’m going to put this content out there, and other particularly colleagues are going to look at it, they’re going to go well, you know, that’s not that’s not the full explanation, or that’s not you know, and so attorneys have a tendency to want to give the give everything and say, Well, you know, like, so here’s the role, and here are the exception to the rule. And here are the exceptions, the exceptions, and then they’re like, Who’s gonna listen to a video like this? And right, so when we talk about thought leadership, let’s kind of put a framework around that so people can understand what that means. It’s not just sitting here, you know, educating people on the law in your practice, right, whatever. Having a point of view, right?

Alexandra: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. It’s not the art kind of armchair philosopher idea. So one thing that I think can help explain it, is that it’s not the same as content marketing. If you see an article that titled, what, what should I do if I get involved in a T bone accident in San Antonio, you know, that’s right. That’s not, that’s not thought leadership, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s content marketing, we do some of that, too. That’s great. Thought Leadership. And this is gonna sound very rudimentary. So just bear with me, we break it down into its two parts. First, it has to be thoughtful. If it’s just conveying information, if it is conveying the rule of law, that’s helpful. It’s not necessarily thoughtful. 

Second, it has to lead is it leading the conversation in different directions? So for example, an article that might fall into the realm of thought leadership as opposed to content marketing would be, I just worked on an article with a client it’s should athletes should college athletes be classified as employees so they can get paid and get certain protections. So that is thoughtful, because a lot of people haven’t thought about this, a lot of them have a lot of people have strong opinions and a bleeding because she presented. She didn’t necessarily to the position. But she presented the issues in a way to sort of say like, Look, we really need to think about this, because look at the implications of X, Y, and Z. And, you know, if they aren’t classified as employees, they don’t get these protections. 

What could that mean? And here’s an example of something that happened, terrible that happened to somebody because of x. But then on the other hand, think about why you know, so that that is thought leadership, it is not just conveying information, it is presenting a different take on an issue. And it may not even be, it may not even really involve the black letter law. It might even be something a lot of lawyers are breaking into the wellness space, they’re breaking into the mindfulness space, they’re sharing more of themselves, and their wisdom and their knowledge. Some of them are getting more political, I think that that’s fine. I had a professor in law school, tell us one day, I’ll never forget this. He said, You know, you guys to silence the room, it was amazing. He said, people are going to be looking to you for your opinions, and not just on the law. Rarely on the law, actually, they’re gonna want to know what you think about what’s going on in the world, they’re gonna, they’re gonna look to you as an example of how a professional should live.

Davina: So I was gonna just say it’s really the leadership at you know, that thought leadership, leadership part of it, of being stepping up and starting a conversation about something you think is important to talk about, right?

Alexandra: Yeah, precisely, you hit the nail on the head. And it doesn’t always have to be what happens if I get in a car accident? You know, what should I do after I get? You know, it can be anything you I think you do this so well, does he know, I mean, people just need to go follow all your accounts. your Instagram feed, you know, there’s so many great examples of this out in the world. And lawyers do feel a lot of fear. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that about sharing themselves. But, you know, as one of my colleagues says, you know, you got to get over it. You’ve got to get over it, you got to do it. Who cares? what people think, just be professional, obviously, don’t go running afoul.

Davina: Our ethical obligations and things like that. Yeah. Yeah. And yeah, you know, a lot of people have, it’s really interesting, because it has been taboo in the past to discuss politics, sex, religion, money. I mean, there are certain things that are taboo to discuss. And now we’re in an age, I think we’re having a lot more open discussion about a lot of different topics. And so I often get challenged, not not challenged, but I discuss politics, either on my personal social media and things like that, I don’t, I don’t really bring it up in business, but I think my viewpoints show up in the way that I work. And some people will say, gosh, you know, I want to, I gotta be careful about that, because, you know, some clients, maybe different political leanings, or whatever, I think everybody’s gonna make that decision for themselves. My thought on it is, this is no BS, a lot of things I believe, are sort of deal breakers for me. 

So, you know, in terms of breaks in terms of gender, in terms of in treating marginalized groups, you know, in certain ways. And I’m so I draw, I have a really strong point of view about that, and a strong stance on that. And, and it’s important enough for me to not worry that if somebody is repelled by what I’m saying, it’s not gonna hurt my feelings, like, you know, they’re probably not going to be an ideal client for me, and I’m okay with that. Because I know a lot of people out there, that’s gonna resonate with. I know, with a lot of attorneys, you know, they feel like I need to, you know, there are certain topics I need to stay away from, you know, I, in my business, obviously, I talked a lot about money. And I grew up in a family where you know, that we don’t talk about money. You know, my parents don’t want to talk to me, you know, exactly what all their you know, we’re just gonna be surprised when one day they pass away, which I hope will be a long time from now. But you know, so. So there is, is, but I think in this day and age, with social media being what it is the way people are, it’s not really about airing all of your, you know, dirty laundry or having an opinion on everything out there. But it’s really about thinking about those things that are most important to you. And if we’re passionate about the work we’re doing, there’s something about that work that you feel strongly about. And that really is what we’re talking about. We’re talking about thought leadership, right?

Alexandra: Yes, absolutely. Because at the end of the day, that’s what separates you from the person down the street whose service offerings if you strip them down to their bare essentials, they look, they look identical, you know, what, what makes you different from that person. And I think that the clients I’ve worked with, who haven’t been afraid to show a little bit of their authentic selves, again, in a very professional, very measured way. In the way that you’re describing, have seen, frankly, explosive success. And in ways that actually are inspiring me to do the same, I think I have the lawyer tendency to clam up a little bit. And yeah, I think I don’t have much to add to what you said. I think that just absolutely, that resonates so much.

Davina: Oh, great. Thank you, I appreciate that. And I just, you know, I just want people to start thinking about how the benefit of hiring someone to help you right, if it is not your, if you do, they’re not your natural forte, or it’s not your, you just don’t have time, like you would, but you don’t have time to really think through. And so having a point of view, hiring a writer, having someone that you can talk with and say, Okay, this is kind of what I want to communicate the way I want to communicate it, and this is my brand, this is what I’m passionate about. And you know, if you’re a divorce attorney, you may be really passionate about Collaborative Law and not in the families don’t belong in courtrooms. Or you may be somebody who’s really passionate about dads being represented, because you feel like they’re kind of unrepresented and treated unfairly in the courtroom, whatever, right? 

Your point of view, they’re going to be a lot of people out there who just really resonate with that, and they’re going to be people who are repelled by it. And that’s okay, the clearer you are, the more, the more highly attractive you are to your ideal client. And so, oftentimes, we may have these opinions, and we have the soft, have a hard time articulating and writing them down on paper, and getting them out in a way. You know, it conveys what we want in a professional way. Right? So I think, really, I think it’s great service, you guys, you guys are offering to help, you know, help attorneys do that. Um, tell me where we can connect with you and find out more about Davis Legal Media and sort of get on your list. So we’re going to be the first in line to hear about your product when it rolls out and the summer.

Alexandra: Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate it. So my website is davislegalmedia.com. It will be under construction in the near future. But in the meantime, you can stay connected by following me on Instagram at Davis Legal Media, on Twitter at Davis Legal Media. On LinkedIn, I have a page, Davis Legal Media or you can connect with me personally at Alexandra Davis. If you jump on my website soon before it goes under construction, which will be in the next few weeks, jump on there, scroll down to the bottom get on join my newsletter, because that is something that I send out regularly. That’s when you’ll hear about the launch of Deus, you know our content packages. That’s when you’ll see when new content goes up on our blog. That’s when you hear about new developments. And you can get to know me a little bit. Just hit reply to the email and I’ll make its way over to me and I always responded I do I love when I hear from people so so please, please do reach out.

Davina: Great. Great. Thanks so much for being here. I had a really good time. One writer to another I love having these kinds of conversations. So it was really a pleasure to have you here alligator.

Alexandra: Me too. Thanks for being here. Yeah, it was a lot of fun.

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